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To protect bats, Nation Rise turbines to be idled at night during low-wind conditions in warm season

NORTH STORMONT – The Community Liaison Committee met over Zoom on Wednesday, February 24th to update the public about work on the Nation Rise Windfarm being constructed in and around Berwick, Crysler, and Finch. Present were Community Liaison Members Councillor Steve Densham representing the Township of North Stormont, Chair of the CLC Gabriel Constantin, Treasurer of the Berwick Recreational Committee Amy Sanders-Michaud, Superintendant of North Stormont Public Works Blake Henderson, and Landowner Judy Tessier.

They were joined by team members from EDP Renewables (EDPR), the company responsible for constructing the Nation Rise Wind Farm. The team members introduced themselves as Associate Director of Development Ken Little, Development Project Manager Nathan Roscoe, Senior Operations Manager Erika Nelson, Operations Manager Scott Klinoski, Site Manager Graham McDougall, and Project Developer Laura Bashford.

According to Associate Director of Development Ken Little, there are now 25 of the 29 proposed turbines fully erected, despite a delay in construction, with all private access roads and foundations installed. The project substation was successfully connected to the power grid in October of 2020, while the commissioning of the turbines began in late December, and is expected to continue through to May-June 2021.

Little also discussed EDPR’s one-time contribution of $150,000 to a Home Improvement Fund for households within 1.5 kilometres of the wind turbines. Households may apply for a grant of up to $5,000 for improvements to mitigate any noise or visual impacts of the project. The application period begins thirty days after the commercial operation date, and closes after one year. Funds will be distributed to the selected applications sixty days after the application period’s closing. The application form will be made available on the Nation Rise Wind Farm’s website closer to the date of commercial operation.

Development Project Manager Nathan Roscoe went on to talk about the turbines themselves, which were manufactured by the German company, Enercon GmbH. Enercon GmbH currently has turbines operating in Italy, the UK, Vietnam, and Germany.

Upcoming and continuing activities at the turbine sites include the installation of remaining turbines, the inspection and commissioning of turbines, and site reclamation. Half-load season in SD&G, which begins on March 8th, will affect the moving of heavy equipment like cranes to and from the construction sites, but Roscoe doesn’t expect to require moving turbine parts during that time.

Roscoe also confirmed that the turbines will not operate in low winds between sundown and sunrise from June to September. This is a measure to protect at-risk bat populations during their migration periods. The turbines will be controlled by software, which will automatically stop the turbines from operating when the wind speeds drop below 5.5 m/s, or 19.8 kmph.

Operations Manager Scott Klinoski took over to explain the process of commissioning the turbines. He explained that it includes inspections of safety systems, installing software, and testing. This process is carried out by Enercon technicians in conjunction with teams from EDPR. He anticipates completing the commissioning of all turbines by May. Klinoski was joined by Senior Operations Manager Erika Nelson, who said that the wind farm will be monitored 24/7 both remotely and locally once it becomes operational. The wind farm will also undergo frequent maintenance, and environmental and safety inspections. Beyond the day-to-day operation of the windfarm, EDPR intends to foster relations with its vendors, landowners, and the community.

Additionally, In response to a question from the public about vibration monitors, Little confirmed that such monitors are being installed below local groundwater levels in multiple areas within the Nation Rise area.

At the conclusion of the meeting, CLC Members discussed whether or not to continue meeting in the future, given that the Nation Rise Wind Farm is soon to be completed. The consensus was to wait until the wind farm starts operation to revisit the possibility for another official meeting. The Nation Rise Wind Farm is expected to become operational in June 2021.